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Sanctification – John Flavel WSC

March 28, 2010 Comments off

Of Sanctification.

Q. 35. What is sanctification?
A. Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and mare to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.

Q. 1. What are the parts of sanctification?
A. Dying unto sin, and living unto God; Romans 6:11. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Q. 2. Who is the Author of sanctification?
A. God only; Jude 1. To them that are sanctified by God the Father.

Q. 3. What is the instrument of it?
A. The word of God; John 17:17. sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.

Q. 4. What part of man is sanctified?
A. Every part, both of soul and body; 1 Thessalonians 5:23. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Q. 5. Is sanctification perfected at once?
A. No; but by degrees; 2 Peter 3:18. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Q. 6. When will it be made perfect?
A. When we come to heaven, and not before; 1 Corinthians 13:10-11. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

Q. 7. What are the signs of true sanctification?
A. When it runs into all parts of our conversation; 1 Peter 1:15. But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation. And continues to the end; Revelation 22:11. Let him that is holy be holy still.

Q. 8. What is the inseparable companion of sanctification?
A. Righteousness towards men; Luke 1:74-75. That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness, and righteousness before him all the days of our life.

Q. 9. What is opposite to sanctification?
A. All filthiness of flesh and spirit; 2 Corinthians 7:1. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit.

Q. 10. What is the privilege of the sanctified?
A. They are all elected, and shall he glorified; 1 Peter 1:2, 4. Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit. . . to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.

Q. 11. What is the case of them who live and die unsanctified?
A. They shall never see God; Hebrews 12:14. Follow peace with all men, and holiness; without which no man shall see the Lord.

Q. 12. What differenceth true from pretended sanctification?
A. True sanctification purgeth the heart from the love of sin; Romans 7:15. For that which I do, I allow not. And the life from the dominion of sin; Romans 6:19. As ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness, and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness, unto holiness.

Q. 13. May great sinners be sanctified?
A. Yes; the Spirit of God can sanctify the vilest heart; 1 Corinthians 6:11. And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified.

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Proving justification by sanctification, the marks of grace – John Flavel

March 28, 2010 Comments off

If all the promises of the new covenant be absolute and unconditional, having no respect nor relation, to any grace wrought in us, nor duty done by us, then the trial of our interest in Christ, by marks and signs of grace, is not our duty, nor can we take comfort in sanctification, as an evidence of our justification.

But it is a Christian’s duty to try his interest in Christ by marks and signs; and he may take comfort in sanctification, as an evidence of justification. Ergo.

The sequel of the major is undeniably clear: so that can never be a sign or evidence of an interest in Christ, which that interest may be without; yea, and as Dr. Crispe asserts, according to his Antinomian principles, ‘Christ is ours (saith he) before we have gracious qualifications; every true mark and sign must be inseparable from that it signifies.’ Now, if the works of the Spirit in us be not so, but an interest in Christ may be where these are not, then they are no proper marks or signs; and if they are not, it cannot be our duty to make use of them as such, and consequently if we should, they can yield us no comfort.

The minor is plain in scripture; 1 John 2.3, “Hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” The meaning is, we perceive and discern ourselves to be sincere believers, and consequently that Christ is our propitiation, when obedience to his commands is become habitual and easy to us; So 1 John 3.19, “Hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him;” i.e., by our sincere cordial love to Christ and his members, as verse 18, this shall demonstrate to us, that we are the children of truth; and again, 1 John 3.15, “We know that we are passed from death to life; because we love the brethren:” With multitudes more to the same purpose, which plainly teach Christians to fetch the evidences of their justification out of their sanctification, and to prove their interest in Christ, by the works of his Spirit found in their own hearts.

And this is not only a Christian’s liberty, but his commanded duty to bring his interest in Christ to this touchstone and test; 2 Cor. 13.5, “Examine yourselves, prove yourselves,” &c. 2 Pet. 1.10, “Give all diligence to make your calling and election sure,” i.e., your election by your calling. No man can make his election sure a priori, nor can any make it surer than it is in se; therefore it is only capable of being made sure to us a posteriori; arguing from the work of sanctification in us, to God’s eternal choice of us.

And as the saints in all ages have taken this course, so they have taken great and lawful comfort in the use of these marks and signs of grace; 2 Kings 20.3.; 2 Cor. 1.12.

I am sensible how vehemently the Antinomian party, Dr. Crispe, Mr. Eyre, and some others, do oppugn [oppose] this truth, representing it as legal and impracticable (for they are for the absolute and unconditional nature of the new covenant, as well as you); but by your espousing their principle, you have even run Anabaptism into Antinomianism; and must, by this principle of yours, renounce all marks and trials of an interest in Christ, by any work of the Spirit wrought in us. You must only stick to the immediate sealings of the Spirit; which, if such a thing be at all, it is but rare and extraordinary.

I will not deny but there may be an immediate testimony of the Spirit; but sure I am his mediate testimony by his graces in us, is his usual way of sealing believers. We do not affirm any of these his works to be meritorious causes of our justification; or that, considered abstractly from the Spirit, they can of themselves seal, or evidence our interest in Christ. Neither do we affirm, that any of them are complete and perfect works; but this we say, that they being true and sincere, though imperfect graces, they are our usual and standing evidences, to make out our interest in Christ by. And I hope you, and the whole Antinomian party, will find it hard, yea, and impossible, to remove the saints from that comfortable and scriptural way of examining their interest in Christ, by the graces of his Spirit in them; as the saints, who are gone to heaven before them, have done in all generations.

Source: A reply to Baptist hyper-calvinism

If all the promises of the new covenant be absolute and unconditional, having no respect nor relation, to any grace wrought in us, nor duty done by us, then the trial of our interest in Christ, by marks and signs of grace, is not our duty, nor can we take comfort in sanctification, as an evidence of our justification.

But it is a Christian’s duty to try his interest in Christ by marks and signs; and he may take comfort in sanctification, as an evidence of justification. Ergo.

The sequel of the major is undeniably clear: so that can never be a sign or evidence of an interest in Christ, which that interest may be without; yea, and as Dr. Crispe asserts, according to his Antinomian principles, ‘Christ is ours (saith he) before we have gracious qualifications; every true mark and sign must be inseparable from that it signifies.’ Now, if the works of the Spirit in us be not so, but an interest in Christ may be where these are not, then they are no proper marks or signs; and if they are not, it cannot be our duty to make use of them as such, and consequently if we should, they can yield us no comfort.

The minor is plain in scripture; 1 John 2.3, “Hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” The meaning is, we perceive and discern ourselves to be sincere believers, and consequently that Christ is our propitiation, when obedience to his commands is become habitual and easy to us; So 1 John 3.19, “Hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him;” i.e., by our sincere cordial love to Christ and his members, as verse 18, this shall demonstrate to us, that we are the children of truth; and again, 1 John 3.15, “We know that we are passed from death to life; because we love the brethren:” With multitudes more to the same purpose, which plainly teach Christians to fetch the evidences of their justification out of their sanctification, and to prove their interest in Christ, by the works of his Spirit found in their own hearts.

And this is not only a Christian’s liberty, but his commanded duty to bring his interest in Christ to this touchstone and test; 2 Cor. 13.5, “Examine yourselves, prove yourselves,” &c. 2 Pet. 1.10, “Give all diligence to make your calling and election sure,” i.e., your election by your calling. No man can make his election sure a priori, nor can any make it surer than it is in se; therefore it is only capable of being made sure to us a posteriori; arguing from the work of sanctification in us, to God’s eternal choice of us.

And as the saints in all ages have taken this course, so they have taken great and lawful comfort in the use of these marks and signs of grace; 2 Kings 20.3.; 2 Cor. 1.12.

I am sensible how vehemently the Antinomian party, Dr. Crispe, Mr. Eyre, and some others, do oppugn [oppose] this truth, representing it as legal and impracticable (for they are for the absolute and unconditional nature of the new covenant, as well as you); but by your espousing their principle, you have even run Anabaptism into Antinomianism; and must, by this principle of yours, renounce all marks and trials of an interest in Christ, by any work of the Spirit wrought in us. You must only stick to the immediate sealings of the Spirit; which, if such a thing be at all, it is but rare and extraordinary.

I will not deny but there may be an immediate testimony of the Spirit; but sure I am his mediate testimony by his graces in us, is his usual way of sealing believers. We do not affirm any of these his works to be meritorious causes of our justification; or that, considered abstractly from the Spirit, they can of themselves seal, or evidence our interest in Christ. Neither do we affirm, that any of them are complete and perfect works; but this we say, that they being true and sincere, though imperfect graces, they are our usual and standing evidences, to make out our interest in Christ by. And I hope you, and the whole Antinomian party, will find it hard, yea, and impossible, to remove the saints from that comfortable and scriptural way of examining their interest in Christ, by the graces of his Spirit in them; as the saints, who are gone to heaven before them, have done in all generations.

The Law demands perfect obedience for righteousness

December 6, 2009 Comments off

And when the apostle saith, in Rom. 4: 5, “But unto him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness”, the scope of it is neither to characterise and describe the justified person, as one that is lazy and slothful, and has no mind to work, nor the rebellious and refractory, refusing obedience to the commands of God; but to represent him as an humbled sinner, who is convinced of his inability to work out his own righteousness by the law, and sees all his endeavours to obey the law fall short of righteousness, and therefore is said, in a law-sense, not to work, because he does not work so as to answer the purpose and end of the law, which accepts of nothing beneath perfect obedience.

John Flavel, The effectual application of Christ to the soul

Twofold application of our redemption

December 6, 2009 Comments off

John Flavel

Doct. That the Lord Jesus Christ, with all his precious benefits, becomes ours, by God’s special and effectual application.

There is a twofold application of our redemption, one primary, the other secondary: The former is the act of God the Father, applying it to Christ our surety, and virtually to us in him: the latter is the act of the Holy Spirit, personally and actually applying it to us in the world of conversion: The former has the respect and relation of an example, model, or pattern to this; and this is produced and wrought by the virtue of that. What was done upon the person of Christ, was not only virtually done upon us, considered in him as a common public representative person, in which sense, we are said to die with him, and live with him, to be crucified with him, and buried with him, but it was also intended for a platform, or idea, of what is to be done by the Spirit, actually upon our souls and bodies, in our single persons. As he died for sin, so the Spirit applying his death to us in the work of mortification, causes us to die to sin, by the virtue of his death: And as he was quickened by the Spirit, and raised unto life, so the Spirit applying unto us the life of Christ, causeth us to live, by spiritual vivification. Now this personal, secondary, and actual application of redemption to us by the Spirit, in his sanctifying work, is that which I am engaged here to discuss and open.

Source: The effectual application of Christ to the soul

Of Saving Faith – John Flavel

November 29, 2009 Comments off

WSC Q. 86. What is faith in Jesus Christ?
A. Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel.

Q. 1. What is the root or cause of faith?
A. Not the power of man’s will; Ephesians 2:8. For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; But the Spirit of God. Galatians 5:22. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith. John 1:12-13. But as man as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name; which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Q. 2. How doth the Spirit of God ordinarily produce faith?
A. By the preaching of the word he ordinarily begets it; Romans 10:17. Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God; though sometimes he doth it immediately.

Q. 3. Who are the proper subjects of faith?
A. Convinced and sensible sinners are the proper subjects of faith; John 16:8-10. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. Of sin, because they believe not on me: of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more: of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

Q. 4. What is the seat or habitation of faith?
A. Not only the head or understanding, but principally the heart and will; Romans 10:10. With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, &c. Acts 8:37. And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.

Q. 5. But is not the assent of the understanding true faith?
A. The mere assent of the understanding to the truths of scripture, is not such a faith as will save the soul; James 2:19. Thou believest that there is one God; thou dost well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

Q. 6. What is the act of faith that justifies a sinner?
A. It is the receiving of Christ, by the full and hearty consent of the heart that justifies us; John 1:12. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.

Q. 7. What is the object of faith?
A. The primary object of faith is the person of Christ, and the secondary are his benefits; Isaiah 45:22. Look unto me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth, &c. Philippians 3:8-9. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: For whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ; the righteousness which is of God by faith.

Q. 8. May not a man look partly to Christ, and partly to his own works and duties for righteousness?
A. No; he must eye Christ only, and exclude all others, or he cannot be justified; Philippians 3:9. And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ: The righteousness which is of God by faith, Romans 4:5. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Q. 9. Is it enough to eye the person of Christ only in believing?
A. No; we must eye the person of Christ, as clothed with all his offices; Acts 16:31. And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thine house. Our ignorance needs him as a prophet, our guilt as a priest, our sins and enemies as a king.

Q. 10. Is true faith faith exclusive of all fears and doubts?
A. No; it is not, but true believers are troubled with many fears and doubtings; Isaiah 50:10. Who is he among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light, &c. Mark 9:24. And straightway the Father of the child crieth out with tears, Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief.

Q. 11. Is no man actually justified till he believe?
A. No, he cannot be justified actually till he believe actually; Galatians 3:22. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. John 3:18. He that believeth on him, is not condemned: But he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Q. 12. Is every man that believes justified immediately and fully upon his believing?
A. Yes, he is; Romans 5:1. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. John 5:24. He that heareth my words, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Q. 13. What is the true character or description of a believer?
A. He is one that, having been convinced of his sin and misery, and of his own and all other creatures inability to save him, and of the ability and willingness of Christ to save him, lets go all hold and dependence on creatures, and his own righteousness, and casts himself entirely upon Christ for righteousness and life.

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